Staff - Detail

Piferrer Circuns, Francesc

Direct Ph.: 932309567
Ext.: 1204
Office: B-81
Research lines:
Francesc Piferrer (Malgrat de Mar, Barcelona, 1960) is Research Professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM), a center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Barcelona.

He graduated in Biology in 1982 from the University of Barcelona (UB). He did his doctoral thesis at the Center of Excellence for Biotechnology and Genetics in Aquaculture, West Vancouver Laboratory, Canada (1985–1988), under the direction of Professor Edward M. Donaldson, and obtained his PhD in Biology from the UB in 1990. Its postdoctoral training took place at the Dept. of Biology, Boston University (1991–1992) and Dept. of Reproductive Medicine, University of California San Diego in La Jolla (1993–1994). After a period at the Institute of Aquaculture (CSIC), in 1997 he joined the Dept. Renewable Marine Resources of the ICM and formed his own research group, the Group of Biology of Reproduction, which recently obtained the qualification of "Group of Excellence" in the assessment carried out by the CSIC. Francesc Piferrer is also, since 2005, the coordinator of the Research Group of the Government of Catalonia "Genomics and Physiology of Fishes."

His main line of research is: Sexual Development. Genetic and Environmental Influences. Francesc Piferrer has contributed significantly to demonstrate the importance of estrogens on the sexual differentiation of fish. His current research focuses on the genetic and environmental influences in establishing population sex ratios, with attention to the epigenetic regulation of the effect of temperature. His main contributions have been: 1) Demonstration that the aromatase enzyme is essential for functional ovarian differentiation in anamniotes (published in J. Exp. Zool., 1994); 2) Clarification of the incidence, distribution patterns and sex ratio response to temperature in fish (published in PLoS One, 2008); 3) Demonstration of the presence of an epigenetic mechanism that connects environmental temperature with gonadal development in a poikilothermic animal (published in PLoS Genetics, 2011), 4) Evidence of dissociation between gonadal morphology and function in response to temperature in an animal (published in PNAS, 2017).

He has been the PI in 18 research projects, national and international and has supervised 11 Ph.D. theses. He is the author of some 175 articles —including a dozen book chapters and the edition of two books— including more than one hundred published in peer-reviewed international journals such as Nature Communications, PLoS Genetics, Bioessays, Genetics, BMC Genomics and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). His work has been cited about 5,700 times (h-index: 44) and three of his articles are considered "Highly-cited papers." Searching the ISI Web of Science by Topic = (fish * OR teleost *) AND (sex* deter* OR sex* differentiation OR gonad* differentiation) places him among the first 5 authors in his specialty.

He has significantly contributed to the development of protocols for sex and maturity control in fish farming, collaborates with companies and has developed the patent ES 2346122 B1 "Method for the thermal control of the sex ratio in the sea bass." He has been a consultant for the European Commission in Brussels and was a member of the standing committee of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for the protection of animals in research and production. He conceived and was responsible (1998–2007) of the aquarium and Experimental Chambers Area at the ICM. Between 2011 and 2015 he collaborated with the Spanish Ministry of Science in the management of federally-funded projects of the National Plan. He has been the editor-in-chief of Treballs de la Societat Catalana de Biologia (2003–2009), society where he served on its Steering Committee (2003–2014). Since 2013 he is member of the Management Board of the Aquaculture Research Network of the Government of Catalonia.

His work has been reported in radio, TV and newspapers, national and foreign (El País, La Vanguardia, The Globe and Mail, National Geographic, La2, TV3, NTN24, CNN, Time Magazine). In 2013 he was awarded the XII Jacumar Prize of Aquaculture Research.

ORCID access to publications:

Last updated: January 2017

Tel. +34-932 309 567